I either learned or re-learned these things about dramatic writing without writing: Action is King. Conflict is King #1-A.
Here I am again enjoying my five-month writer’s colony, tenants covering the mortgage and the cat back home, 5000 miles away from all the other mundane cares. One of the great paradoxes of our troubled times is that it’s cheaper for me to live in London than in the San Francisco Bay Area. This stripped-down life allows me to focus hard on my writing and enjoy the pleasures of a great city in my time off. My mental engine is madly racing. It’s exciting and exhausting at the same time.
In some ways, Kavanaugh’s testimony was like every writer’s Shitty First Draft: there was true meaning buried in that mess, but it had yet to be exhumed. The advice I give to students who are struggling with their own first drafts is to Interrogate the Weird. That’s because weirdness usually signals something that deserves to be unpacked.
There was plenty of Weird in Kavanaugh’s testimony.
My friend and I run a diversity fellowship out of a TV production company here in NYC…
I’ve never kept a diary. At least not since I was eight, when my father bought two blank journals and suggested that he and I spend time together every evening writing in our diaries. For several weeks we did just that, sitting side by side on the living room couch and recording the events of the day. One day I came home from school and found my diary in the wrong place on the bookshelf. When I inquired about this, my dad said, “I have to admit something to you. I was so curious about what you’ve been writing that I couldn’t help myself, so I went in your room and read it.”
Books eat other books just as surely as hamsters eat their young. A friend of mine who raises pigs once told me a pig has to eat three pounds of feed for every single pound of meat it produces.
…disability is too often excluded in discussions of diversity, a good deal of which, for good reason, focuses on race. This silence is especially noteworthy because disability crosses racial, gender, sexuality, class, and national boundaries.
“I get it: I keep trying to build cathedrals when I should be building yurts.”
Dear John McCain,
I think of your tap code late at night when I am lonely. You broken and spent in the Hanoi Hilton tapping out “Are you okay?” to the guy on the other side of the wall.
On Writers, Writer’s Block, Generosity, Creativity and Community
I just started rehearsals for a ten-day workshop a relatively new play of mine: BORN IN EAST BERLIN. The workshop is at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto. I decided to blog the first day.
At this past residency in Vermont, a few faculty members were sitting around before a meeting, talking about nothing in particular, and then one of us, for whatever reason that made sense in the moment, was describing a scene in
Whenever you bump up against a writing situation that feels impossible, remember the Sugar Balloon, and all the experimentation, tenacity, innovation, determination, and risk that it took to arrive at this floating answer to a once-thought-impossible question.
The paragraph or so of writing in preparation for this post I began on an empty page of an old, located notebook, one that flips vertically like a police ticket or meter maid book, but unlike law enforcement trappings
By chance or design, I held the words of the Salvadoran poet Claribel Alegría, later translated by poet Carolyn Forche and published by Pittsburgh in Flowers from the Volcano.